Thug life. Two words that describe a Busan fan-girl that took drama viewers on an unforgettably interesting and exciting coming-of-age journey. Shi Won grew up in the era of tamagotchi’s and H.O.T. Shi Won grew up in an era that could be an infinite timeline of adolescence. Replace the tamagotchi with the fad of the day and you have the story none of us can escape- growing up is hard to do. Shi won embodies every teenage girl, with all of her fan-girl emotional turmoil. Yet what sets Shi Won apart from every teenage girl you scowl at when perusing your local shopping mall is her unique ability to be a gangster, a fan, a clueless girl, and a strong force of emotions for everyone around her simultaneously. A tsunami of change, Shi Won played her part to a tee.
Character: Sun Shi Won
Actor: Jung Eun Ji
Drama: Answer Me 1997 (2012)
Answer Me 1997 to me is the Korean Wonder Years, a poignant vision of growing up chalked full of life lessons narrated by our favorite characters. Shi Won was our Kevin. Shi Won was the woman that we grew with, laughed with, and sympathized with through all of the adolescent awkwardness that she experienced. What made this character a person to treasure was her ability to adapt, yet remain the same. Shi Won was forever Tony’s wife, but grew into a woman before our eyes in response to the multiple challenges a young person faces.
My favorite theme of this drama was change, a simplistic idea that is really hard to do when you have no one around you to support you. Thankfully, for a period of time Shi Won reversed her support and realized that being alone was necessary. A solitary existence is hard to abide by, especially when you are young. Not an ideal situation but an opportunity for growth, finding yourself through loneliness is a trope of literature as old as time. Thankfully, she realized that pushing certain people away was a necessary evil that accomplished a destined romance. Shi Won grew through her long standing relationships as much as she grew from the time she spent away from said friends and family.
Shi Won was only as complicated as her emotional whims allowed. Yet she was true to herself in an epic way. Fan girl fovever, thug for life, Shi Won made me miss 1997 in a way I did not think possible. A great character indeed.